Between slumping prices and low mortgage rates, it’s a good time to look for real estate bargains. But thanks to tightened lending standards, legions of young would-be homebuyers aren’t exactly in a position to take advantage of the opportunity. That’s where their parents come in: One in three first-time buyers received either a gift or a loan from their families to help buy a home in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Such a move can provide significant financial benefits to child and parent alike. But you need to proceed carefully to maximize the tax and estate-planning advantages and avoid unpleasant family conflicts.
The most straightforward way for a parent to lend a hand is to simply give your child some cash. There is a limit, however, to how much money the federal government will let you give away tax-free in any one year. In 2012, a taxpayer can give $13,000 to an individual without triggering so-called gift taxes. Married couples may underwrite their child to the tune of $26,000 a year. Read more
Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit. Read more
The Appraisal Institute says appraisals are not to blame for home values plummeting and appraisals coming in low.
In fact, the group, in a statement, says the message is clear: don’t shoot the appraiser. Read more
The Federal Reserve announced today that they will keep interest rates low until at least late 2014 in an effort to help jump-start the sluggish economy by making it less expensive to borrow money across all segments of the economy. Read more
Mortgage rates were back to hitting record lows again, pushing housing affordability even higher to home buyers, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. For the sixth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular choice among buyers, has averaged below 4 percent — unheard of until a few weeks ago. Read more
In today’s world, your credit score can have a significant effect on the financial aspects of your life. Your credit history determines loan and credit card interest rates, can raise your insurance premiums, and can even be a determining factor for getting a job.
Therefore, it’s very important to take steps to achieve and maintain a healthy credit score, and to check up on it frequently to ensure that it is accurate. Read more
Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 3.73 percent, down from 3.81 percent at this same time last week. Read more
Home prices were on the downswing in the third quarter, according to the latest report from both the Case-Shiller Index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The indices found that while levels were below third quarter 2010 numbers and the annual rate of decline for the last quarter range from 3.6 to 3.9 percent.
“Home prices drifted lower in September and the third quarter,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “The National Index was down 3.9% versus the third quarter of 2010 and up only 0.1% from the previous quarter. Three cities posted new index lows in September 2011 – Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Seventeen of the 20 cities and both Composites were down for the month. Over the last year home prices in most cities drifted lower. The plunging collapse of prices seen in 2007-2009 seems to be behind us. Any chance for a sustained recovery will probably need a stronger economy.” Read more
Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they plan to buy a home in the future (with most saying in two or more years), and only two percent say they plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, according to a new Move Inc. survey of 1,000 American adults. So why are so many buyers continuing to wait on the sidelines when home affordability is high and interest rates are at or hovering near record lows?
About 23 percent of those surveyed say they are delaying buying a home because they are concerned about the real estate market in their local area, particularly with concerns over the future of home values, the economy and jobs, as well as difficulty in saving for a down payment. Read more
Midlands builder says regulators must ease up on banks to free money to stimulate the economy:
Wade McGuinn says a Camden bank recently turned him down for a loan to build up to 30 homes in Kershaw County.
That is 90 jobs people don’t have, he said.
Those jobs are the reason homebuilding needs to grab more attention in the national debate on how to revive the battered economy, said Barry Rutenberg, chairman-elect of the National Association of Home Builders, who was in town this week to speak to Midlands-area builders.
Foreclosures rose sharply in South Carolina in October, another hurdle for builders struggling to stay afloat in a stagnant housing market. The state ranked 13th nationally in the number of foreclosures. Meanwhile, foreclosure rates in the U.S. improved over last year. Read more